Mealtime Prayers / Family Prayers

30 06 2009
Tonight I start working with a family from our church to help their son earn his God and Country medal for Cub Scouts. I’m really excited, we’re using a curriculum called “God and Me“. For today’s session it ends with the family committing to mealtime prayers. So I Googled a few ideas to share with them in case they don’t already have something of their own.
Maybe you need some inspiration in your mealtime prayers? Check out this link. If nothing else it will bring you back to preschool, daycare, youth group, or camp days…

http://home.pcisys.net/~tbc/mealpryr.htm#children

Ironically, at the same time I came across a twitter link to a short article on how families can pray together. Some ways to get the conversation started if nothing else.
I have to say in my life prayer has been important.. it brings it brings me closer to those I care about because either I’m remembering their concerns or they are supporting me when I need prayer.And it brings us all closer to God and each other.
I love teaching my children to pray. I’ll be honest we don’t always pray at meal times.. usually it is when we all sit down together, but maybe it would be a good refocusing, touch back to family reality time even if it is just me and my girls (and even if I’m not necessarily eating with them).
We always pray at bedtime though with our children. I remember this is when we prayed when I was growing up.
Funny, we were able to choose what prayer we wanted “Now I Lay Me” or “The Lord’s Prayer” or something else. Frankly praying about death in the first prayer gave me nightmares/panic attacks at night so I sided with the Lord’s Prayer. I didn’t want to frighten my children in the same way, but then just before Ellie was born I found one of those praying stuffed animals that you squeeze. I like the variation the little stuffed critter prayed:
Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul will keep
and Angels watch us through the night
Until I we wake to morning light. Amen.
At first I let the bear pray the prayer with Ellie as an infant. Then she started to repeat with the bear and I decided it was time I took over. We prayed that prayer together and then one night Doug taught her the Lord’s Prayer and she wanted to pray that one. That’s ok with me. Now she likes to pray both, Lord’s Prayer first and the bear variation of “Now I Lay Me”.
Katie has been around when we pray (in her own wiggly way) and we’ll say “Katie do you want to pray with us”. She’ll come over, cuddle with Ellie, say “Pay” and close her eyes tight copying the rhythym of our sounds with her own ‘da da da…da da da’ ‘Amen.’ So totally cute. She’s learning too. I remember teaching my younger sister and brother the Lord’s prayer and giggling when they said things in a funny way.
One more praying with kiddos thought – I occasionally remember to ask Ellie:
“What is something you are happy about from today that you want to say thank you to God for?” and “What is something you are sad that happened and want to ask God’s help or care for?” She responds and we say thank you God, help/be with us God, Amen. This is a simple way to find out something about your child’s day, what is on their mind and maybe you come up with a solution or thanks together, you bond and you share it with God – the one who only wants to reconnect and bond with us, His creations, His children. How cool is that?
Ok, I better get back to work!
I’d love to have you comment and share about how your family prays, your favorite prayers, and your experiences of teaching your children to pray or being taught to pray as a child.
Peace!
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